David Lardner


David at 17.
Ring delayed moving to New York until the birth of his fourth son who was born March 11, 1919. The problem of naming him was submitted to the readers of the 'Wake':

STILL ANONYMOUS

Nearly a week has elapsed since announcement was made of our great prize contest, by the provisions of which the person first suggesting an acceptable first name for a two months old male child will be given a box set at his christening - and still the child is Nonnie. Suggestions have come from many well known persons, among them I, Mar MacLane, who offers 'Wake,' but of the number received so far only one - Tom - has the slightest chance. Others on file are: Earring, Herring, Timothy, Ringlets, Leif, Lafayette, Niles.

The contest will run another week, and if no suitable handle is offered in that time, we'll call him what we want to.

The child was named David, without the help of Ring's readers.

David was always different from the other brothers probably because of the age difference. While many of them were rather quiet and kept to themselves, David was "positively gregarious. He brooded less than the rest and enjoyed himself more and didn't mind revealing it" (Lardner, p. 292).

David was writing as an anonymous reporter and interviewer for "The Talk of the Town" a column in The New Yorker at the age of 20, and he was the movie reviewer for the paper as well. Shortly after he married his wife Frances, he was given the responsibility of another department - "Notes on Sports."

His two children, Katharine and Joe, were born while he was writing this column.

David's opinionated style of writing is what made him valuable at The New Yorker. He only gave his opinion in things that he was knowledgeable about, which included movies and sports.


David and his wife Frances in 1942.

The "Notes on Sports" column continued intermittently for more than two years, but was discontinued permanently when David left to cover World War Two in London.

On October 19, 1944, David was driving with two other men to Aachen, which was simply in shambles after an attack. One of the passengers, Russell Hill, also a correspondent, suggested they take a short cut. The rode they chose to take had just been cleared of mines by American engineers. The engineers piled the mines on the side of the road instead of moving them on with the intent of picking them up the next morning. Instead, the jeep with David in it swerved into the pile of mines. David was blown from the jeep and knocked unconscious. He died a few hours later in a hospital.

He died at age 25.

One of David's last pieces, "Letter from Luxembourg," was published Oct. 10, 1944. In this story, he tells the big picture of how the Germans are affecting life - school children were joining the Hitler Youth Movement (New Yorker, p. 399). Although he never joined the soldiers in fighting like his brother, he wanted to be involved in changing the world.